It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the strikeout pitcher. I jumped on the Wandwagon during last year’s preseason for this reason. So it’s only natural that I’m excited about Jonathan Sanchez. First, let’s expand briefly on why the K pitcher gets me all googly. I recently said this to frequent commenter, Simply Fred. Me, “ERA is fielding dependent. Obviously fantasy depends on ERA, so it shouldn’t be ignored, but it can be taken with a grain of salt. ERA is a lot like average. There’s wide variances and the two stats aren’t always controlled by the player. Say a hitter is a .280 hitter. Depending on luck that hitter can be a .310 hitter or a .260 hitter, but in the end his skills say he’s a .280 hitter. Same with a pitcher. A pitcher can be a 3.20 pitcher and fall anywhere between 2.80 and 3.60 ERA and still be a 3.20 pitcher. Pitchers only really control a few things. One of those things is Ks. If they’re a K pitcher, they should, without injuries or other anomalies, get Ks. So a pitcher can be a 180 K pitcher with a 3.75 ERA. Or a 180 K pitcher with a 3.50 ERA. Or a 180 K pitcher with a 4.00 ERA. The one constant — the Ks.” I.e., Believe in the K. In this game of fantasy baseball, you want as many sure things you can get. The 40 homer hitter, the 40 steal threat and the 180 strikeout pitcher. Which brings us to Jonathan Sanchez and why he’s a 2010 fantasy baseball sleeper.
On June 22nd of last year, Sanchez moved to the bullpen because his last three of four starts were shellackings. As in, he got shelled while lacking command. Whether Righetti twirled Sanchez on his fork with or without a spoon, it’s unbeknownst to me, but Sanchez posted a 3.48 ERA after that brief trip to the bullpen. But, more importantly, his strikeouts held strong and his walks were down. In the season as a whole, Sanchez had a 9.75 K/9. For those iffy on math, that means if he gets 200 innings, he’s getting more than 200 strikeouts. A 200 strikeout pitcher who is being drafted in the final rounds of a 12 team mixed league draft? That sounds mighty nice. Is he going to kill you on WHIP? Probably a bit, but as mentioned like five sentences ago, he started to control his wildness. To mix metaphors, let’s put a bow on this sundae and put it in the oven. He pitches his home games in a pitcher’s park and he’s only 27 years old. All told, Jonathan Sanchez is a 2010 fantasy sleeper.